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Thank you, LayDhammaFollower.
Also, you said:
“This above single video is about AnulōmaSanthiya and SammathaNiyama. I do not know what that is, as of writing now.”
I assume that they are the Sinhala words for the Pali words Anuloma Khanti and Sammattaniyāma, which are the prerequisites for the sotapanna stage.
LangJune 26, 2022 at 12:07 am in reply to: Taking Back my old claim based on newfound awareness #38300
“What would vimutti look like. I don’t understand.”
vimutti (nibbana) is experienced in stages. One way for us at this stage to see what it looks like is to observe raga in your mind, especially kamaraga since we are in the kama loka.
Nibbana is “cooling down”, something that can be observed in oneself. Elsewhere on this site (you can do a search for it), it is said that the anagami stage is actually the easiest to verify.
I know that Lal has given an analogy of someone watching an adult movie. If no sexual thoughts at all arise then he/she is an anagami.
Besides kama raga, I also remember that patigha does not arise either, so an anagami does not get angry at anything.
So that’s what vimutti looks like at the anagami stage.
Personally, I am able to observe the cooling down in myself; I do not plan to watch any adult movie any time soon as a test — not enough confidence for that yet — but the point is that the cooling down is definitely noticeable.
“Also, is there ever an event where a gandhabba is completely annihilated, such as in a parinibbana of a Buddha?”
Yes, at parinibbana of a buddha or arahant, the gandhabba is no more.
Lal often gives the analogy that the gandhabba is like a heater coil. Inside the body of an arahant it is fine (like the coil immersed in water); outside the arahant’s body it cannot “bear” it (like the coil burns outside of water).
In this old forum, you can see Lal’s answer that is related to your question:
“So, when the physical body of the Arahant dies, the gandhabba comes out and perished.”
Also, you may find the following insightful: we cannot talk about a gandhabba of an arahant who is in nirodha samapatti either.
Nirodha samapatti is like parinibbana, except that the physical body is still alive.
See #13744, (5) of this forum:
Thank you, Lal.
The second comment was just a brief addition to LayDhammaFollower’s passing comment about nibbana and samsara.
One more note, as LayDhammaFollower wrote:
Nibbanā ≠ Samsarā
as claimed by some teachers.
I see this more often than not in Mahayana teaching; my native country is mostly Mahayana.
A couple of years ago, Lal pointed out a discussion on this topic on Sutta Central, so it may have crept into Theravada as well.
Looking from the perspective of the 4 ultimate realities, as LayDhammaFollower pointed out:
… I wonder if we can think of the technical similarities / differences like this:
asanna realm = rupā only, no nibbanā
and rupā = hadaya vatthu + cakkhu pasada rupa + sota pasada rupa, from what we learned about brahmā in the rupavacara realms.
… and although there are hadaya vatthu and 2 pasada rupā, no cittā and cetasikā arise from them.
sannavedayita nirodha samapatti = rupa (jīvitindriya) + nibbanā
So, in either case there are no vedana and sanna, and the similarity stops here. Asanna realm is fully in this world of 31 realms; nirodha samapatti is in “between” this world and parinibbana.
Another speculation about the difference between the 2:
Elsewhere on the site we have likened asanna realm as being under anesthesia. When we wake from anesthesia we don’t remember anything, as if that time didn’t exist. I unfortunately knew this quite well, since I had been “under” the knife a number of times in my life; no recollection whatsoever of what happened in between.
On the other hand, if an aharant got into nirodha samapatti, for any duration, I doubt that he/she would EVER forget it. There must be some quality of “wakefulness” in this “experience”.
I happened to be aware of this “teacher” before. When you listen to him, I am afraid you’ll hear more nonsense than sense. Just my opinion.
Many posts on this site address the danger of kama raga, but I’d like to suggest one post in particular at the moment:
#4 of the post (last bullet) says:
“In fact, most times sexual enjoyment comes from just thinking about a past experience or an anticipated one. The actual contact pleasure is relatively short-lived.”
If you contemplate the above point you’ll see how true it is and gain many insights. Besides thinking about a past experience and an anticipated encounter, we also fantasize things on our own. Too much work (abhisankhara) for just a few seconds of sukha vedana.
This is an example of kāmachanda, and many of us have it; after all most of us are not anagamis. Contemplate the above point, plus whatever else in the site that deals with kāmachanda / kama raga, at a time when the mind is free from it.
Also, at the moment the mind is free from kāmachanda, notice how “cool” (niveema) it is; that is niramisa sukha, which is longer lasting, and can serve as a “convincer” that sex is not all it’s cracked up to be.
Best of luck to you!
LangJune 2, 2022 at 10:47 pm in reply to: Taking Back my old claim based on newfound awareness #37843
I can’t wait to read the post. But first, Jorg mentioned Ajahn Bram, and I’d like to ask one follow-up question, since I used to spend much time studying Ajahn’s teaching — with great joy.
I’ll ask my question right up front, which is about Dhammapada verse 372, and give the context of my question afterwards. Ajahn rendered this verse as:
“There is no jhana without wisdom
There is no wisdom without jhana
But for one with both jhana and wisdom
They are in the presence of Nibbana”
I looked up the Pali verse and found this:
“Natthi jhanam apannassa
panna natthi ajhayato
yamhi jhananca panna ca
sa ve nibbanasantike.”
Question: is this rendering close? My Pali is not that good yet.
Anyone who has studied Ajahn Brahm would undoubtedly get that he encourages people to get into jhana. One can see this in his talks and writing. Just as an example, he wrote a little booklet called “The Basic Method of Meditation”, which one can actually download from here:
He described how to get to the 1st jhana, and he ended with the wish: “MAY ALL BEINGS GET JHANA”.
He also wrote a book that described his method of meditation in details: “Mindfulness, Bliss, and Beyond”. Part 2 of that book, starting with Chapter 11, is about the jhanas. In fact, he even wrote that what the Buddha discovered was the jhanas (page 127).
He concluded that chapter with Dhammapada verse 372. Hence my question.
This book is not available online, but there is a booklet that pretty condenses the book:
Finally, just an interesting aside: some students of Ajahn suggested that his name, Brahmavamso, was no coincidence. The name means “he of Brahma’s lineage”, which really fits Ajahn.
LangMay 30, 2022 at 10:41 pm in reply to: Taking Back my old claim based on newfound awareness #37788
It will be FANTASTIC to have a few posts of the Anapanasati Sutta! They may be the only source in English where the sutta is explained as it truly is, and not as breathing in and breathing out.
LangMay 22, 2022 at 5:13 pm in reply to: Taking Back my old claim based on newfound awareness #37608
I’d like to ask about the following post, and I’d ask it here since we did refer to the current series here.
You mentioned a “person” in several places:
iv. The point is that a “person” is not consciously involved in that fast process.
The concept of khandhas shows that at least the initial attachment DOES NOT involve a person. As I have tried to explain in the posts in this section, experiencing sensory input is an automatic process.
Sakkāya Diṭṭhi = View that “There is an Unchanging Person” Experiencing the World
That means “there is no unchanging person.”
The point here is that the idea of a “person” seeing a tree (and generating mental aspects based on it) is not what actually happens.
So, the initial sensory processing is automatic, but somehow at the khandā level a “person” is conjured up.
I recall that in another post you wrote that the Buddha said that viññāṇa is like a magician. Is this an example of that? That viññāṇa produces the notion of a “person” out of an automatic process.
Is this also related to atta/anatta? The notion of a “person” implies that somebody is in control or in charge (atta) when the true nature of sensory processing is such that nobody is “in charge” (anatta)?
Thank you, as always, for all the series of posts. I am about to read the last one in the series.
Coincidentally, someone very recently sent me an article about a physicist who experienced NDE. The sender knew that I was interested in topics like these.
This article also mentions things like dark matter, but what interested me was the analogy of the cloud as consciousness, and I’d like to borrow that analogy to apply to memories recall to see how it works out. In a post, Lal explained that memories are stored in nāma loka (viññāṇa dhātu), and we retrieve memories from there with our brain.
Let’s say we use Google service like gmail, google calendar, Google Docs, etc.
We retrieve those information via our personal computer, which is analogous to our brain.
The Google cloud is like nāma loka (viññāṇa dhātu).
When we die (our PC dies) we arrive at the Google data center for sometime and retrieve data directly from the servers at the data center.
After sometime we get another PC (born into another body with a new brain) and retrieve data via the new PC.
In the step about death above, I made the assumption that when our PC breaks we have direct access to the Google data center until we get a new PC. This part may be strange, but the part about how retrieving memories is like retrieving data from the cloud via a PC makes sense to me. Of course, another assumption is that the Google cloud will never be down.
Physicists on the forum, such as Lal, would know whether the other hypotheses in the article make sense. Lal does have a section on quantum mechanics, but, not being from a physics background, I haven’t checked that section out in depth.
A final thought: if Dr. Alan Ross Hugenot comes across Dhamma concepts like gandhabba and para loka then he can find insights to his research.
LangMay 14, 2022 at 11:11 am in reply to: Taking Back my old claim based on newfound awareness #37493
Saying that jhana may be hindrance is very bad Lang, …
I meant to say: for those starting out on “meditation”, and this is a Sotapanna forum, having jhana as a focal point brings certain unnecessary problems. I should have used “problems” instead of “hindrances” because of the other context of “5 hindrances”.
I listed a few “problems”, but another very common one is what Lal mentioned:
“– For example, I know that some people are discouraged by their inability to attain jhanas.”
This is quite common for people practicing samatha meditation — breath, kasina.
— Christian said:
“… and you will actually have more raga and dosa by doing “anicca sanna” dry”
I have seen this from a few jhana teachers as well: a dry mind cannot grasp deep insights.
I assume that by “dry” they meant a mind not in or near a jhana state, probably the same thing Christian referred to as “regular consciousness” and “everyday mind”.
In my experience, there is nothing “dry” about niramisa sukha. About insights, one does develop them over time — via living a moral life and learning true Dhamma — and those insights are stable and get absorbed into how one lives their life.
LangMay 13, 2022 at 2:05 pm in reply to: Taking Back my old claim based on newfound awareness #37477
Christian may have attained the jhanas and may be at or close to the anagami stage. This may be because he practiced jhanas in his more recent lives.
For the vast majority of lay people, focusing on jhanas may be an unnecessary hinder. I’d like to very briefly share my experience with that vast majority here, and then speculate on the possible hindrances for us of focusing on the jhanas.
I have not attained any jhanas, and I hope that I am at or near the sotapanna anugami stage.
Finding this website was like winning the jackpot for me. Since coming here, I can summarize my “practice” as:
(1) Studying the Buddha’s big picture: the wider world of 31 realms.
(2) Studying and overcoming the 10 types of miccha ditthi.
(3) Cultivating anicca sanna.
Personally, I am certain of one thing: I no longer have any of the 10 types of miccha ditthi. This does 2 wonderful things:
(1) It makes it easier to abstain from the BIG 8 consistently. The BIG 8 is discussed in the Meditation (bhavana) section.
When you learn of the apayā and the law of kamma, and are convinced of the rebirth process, you get quite motivated to abstain from the things that will land you there!
(2) It calms the mind and helps it absorb Dhamma concepts better.
There were times when I was just binge reading the posts and got absorbed in them because concepts were just clicking in the mind — naturally. It brings a natural joy — not piti sukkha since I was not in a jhana, but probably niramisa sukha.
Meanwhile, in observing the change in my personal life, I am almost certain that lobha has reduced to raga, and it is quite a relief. At the same time, I hope that dosa has reduced to patigha, and moha to avijja, but I am not sure of that.
My speculations of possible hindrances about focusing on the jhanas.
(1) It is hard!
Even to get to anariya jhanas one needs to live a secluded life. In daily life in an American metropolis, with a daily job and household responsibilities, social responsibilities, it’s next to impossible.
(2) One may go astray, depending how or from whom one learns jhanas.
A few prominent jhanas teachers come to mind:
- Leigh Brasington and Tina Rasmussen, who studied with Pa Auk Sayadaw
- Ayya Khema
I am quite reluctant to say what I am about to say about people who have attained jhanas, but I do not want to make vague claims. If you research these teachers, you will see in their teachings some contradictions with what we learn here:
Practice Samatha bhavana first to calm the mind (with breath or kasina) to bring about jhanas.
Stopping thinking. We know that this is dangerous, as Lal pointed out in the Meditation section.
They take anapanasati to be breath meditation.
I hope this helps with those in a similar situation as mine.
by “transcendental” kusala-mula p.s., you may have meant puñña kriyā. Lal explained puñña kriyā in the post I referenced.
An arahant still does puñña kriyā, but not kusala kamma, since as Lal explained, there are no more defilements to be removed. puñña kriyā is possibly what you were trying to convey.